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Choosing between Bias and Radial Tires

Radial vs. Bias Tires

When choosing the right tire for your tractor, you have to look at your decision as an investment not a purchase. Deciding on bias vs radial tires is a big decision and requires some thought. Since you will be using your tractor for multiple tasks around your property, work conditions and load capacity become important factors to consider when deciding on which tire best fits your needs. Some tractor attachments add thousands of additional pounds to the load, so most importantly, you must have tires that can carry the load.

What is the difference between radial and bias ply tires?

Bias Tires

Bias tires are built with multiple rubber “plies” overlapping each other. All the plies run from sidewall to sidewall and form a thick layer that is less flexible and more sensitive to overheating.

Radial Tires

Radial tire construction features sidewall and tread that function independently. They utilize steel belts which result in fewer layers- this allows the tire to be more flexible. These steel belts also resist cuts and punctures. The increased flexibility and strength mean the tire absorbs shocks and impacts better, resulting in a much smoother ride and more comfort for the operator. Radial construction also transfers more power to the ground.

Most Important Question to Ask:

Did your current tires on your tractor perform well in terms of traction, wear, ride and overall value?

Many times bias tires perform to your expectations and are priced less than radials. Radial tractor tires, on the other hand, can help improve traction, ride, comfort, soil compaction and tread life.

Bias Benefits

  • Proven performance
  • Long tread life
  • More sizes and ply ratings
  • Less expensive

Radial Benefits

  • Improved traction
  • Improved Wear
  • Smoother ride/operator comfort
  • You can also run them at lower air pressure and can get about 10 — 15% improved traction over bias tires, saving you fuel and improving efficiency.
  • Less Compaction

Original Equipment Tires

New and larger sized tractors may come (OE) original equipment with radial tires on them. Naturally, the owner would consider replacing them with radials when they wear out.

Older, smaller sized tractors most likely came OE (original equipment) with bias tires and owners would likely replace with bias- choosing NOT to spend the extra money for radials if the bias tires did the job. Some smaller tractor tire sizes aren’t even available in in radial plies.

Commercial farms (large tractors) vs ”weekend” farmer(smaller tractors)

Commercial farms measure everything because more production at less cost means more profit. Radials may improve efficiency, fuel cost, production etc… Weekend farmers care less about this and may be more likely to purchase at the lowest price.

Price wise, radials cost quite a bit more than bias so you have to weigh the increased price, performance and efficiency of radial tires. Every tractor owner has their own opinions as to which tractor tire is better, and it is usually based on their past tire experience. Some like bias and some prefer radials. Still not sure? Just give us a call or chat with us online. It’s always best to consult a tractor tire expert.

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